About Mastercard Foundation

Mastercard Foundation is a global foundation based in Toronto, Canada with several offices in Africa. Our programs promote financial inclusion and advance education and learning in Africa, primarily for young people, and in Canada for Indigenous youth. The Foundation was established in 2006 through the generosity of Mastercard when it became a public company. From inception, the Foundation was designed to be a separate entity and independent from Mastercard. Our policies, operations, and funding decisions are made by our President and Board of Directors.

The Foundation believes that youth employment is key to unlocking prosperity, both for youth and their societies. Enabling young women and men from disadvantaged communities to secure dignified and fulfilling work will ensure inclusive development and economic growth in Africa.

Values are timeless, they transcend and rise above all. They guide everything we do, as employees of the Foundation.  We share a common vision of a world where everyone has the opportunity to learn and prosper. We make mistakes, we reflect, and we grow so that we can impact our world – it’s why we are here. We are ambitious and driven. We encourage you to bring your bold ideas, curiosity, and expertise to your work. We laugh at ourselves and with each other. We are a team. Our journey together makes our impact even more meaningful.


Micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) play a critical role in employment and job creation in Sub-Saharan Africa. As part of the Young Africa Works strategy, the Foundation has committed to improving the quality and quantity of jobs in African countries at address youth unemployment. Working with MSMEs is vital to this mission. The Foundation pursues systemic approaches to diagnose and work on interventions to address the numerous constraints on the growth of MSMEs.

MSMEs support the development of country strategies and programs, help colleagues build a shared understanding of key issues and opportunities related to growing MSME employment in Africa, and contributes to the Foundation’s learning agenda.

The Foundation’s work, to date, has supported micro-enterprise directly through its work in Financial Inclusion and in Youth Livelihoods. The Foundation continues to support a number of Financial Inclusion programs that predate the Young Africa Works strategy, especially in the Rural and Agricultural Finance initiative.


Reporting to the Country Representative, the Lead, MSME will be responsible for a portfolio of existing Rural and Agricultural Finance programs and partnerships. They will work collaboratively with the program team and other Foundation staff.

They will be expected to provide expertise to identify constraints that prevent agricultural systems from functioning effectively at the country level, including, those that prevent youth from developing skills relevant for work in the sector; agribusinesses from accessing the finance; capacity and markets needed to grow; the development and design of programs in the agricultural sector and incorporating the agricultural sector’s needs into country strategies.

This individual will be expected to interact effectively with senior levels of partner organizations to advance the current work of the Foundation, while concurrently contributing to the Foundation’s country strategy development and new programs.


Reporting to the Country Representative, Uganda, the Lead will  work collaboratively with the program country team, members of the MSME Technical Expertise Group, Strategy & Learning team colleagues and other Foundation staff.  

The Lead will be responsible for a portfolio of existing financial inclusion programs and partnerships as well as supporting the development of country strategies as a member of the MSME Technical Expertise Group. They will be expected to interact effectively with senior levels of partner organizations to advance the Foundation’s initiatives, while concurrently contribute to the Foundation’s country strategy development. They will be expected to provide expertise to identify constraints that prevent systems from functioning effectively at the country level to promote MSME growth; including those constraints that prevent young people from developing skills relevant for work among MSMEs and that prevent MSMEs from accessing the finance, capacity and markets needed to grow; develop and design programs to support MSME start-ups and growth; and incorporate the MSME segment’s needs into country strategies. 



  • Identify challenges and opportunities facing MSMEs, including those in the Agricultural sector that can be unlocked through education, labour and financial systems to drive job growth. 
  • Provide expertise on MSMEs to support Foundation colleagues’ design and management of programs to scale country-level inclusive education, financial and labour systems in Africa.
  • Work closely with the MSME Technical Expertise Group Lead and other team members to achieve team goals. 
  • Provide perspective and expertise on emerging issues and trends in the FI field, the MSME sector and entrepreneurship growth in Africa. 
  • Manage current and future programs as appropriate; including programs in the rural and agricultural finance initiative and distill learnings for Foundation staff. 
  • Lead and supervise small teams of colleagues and/or junior experts by providing coaching and support necessary for success and growth. 
  • Communicate progress and learnings from projects to colleagues and the wider development community. 
  • Work closely with program and country teams to leverage synergies across programs and geographies. 
  • Build relationships with partner organizations, communities of practice, and global stakeholders. 
  • Represent the Foundation and collaborate with key internal and external audiences. 
  • Participate in governance activities related to programs, such as investment committees, advisory committees or other stakeholders to provide oversight or elevate and leverage learnings. 
  • Identify and overcome barriers to team effectiveness by sharing knowledge and learnings while offering insights and possible solutions to issues and/or program challenges. 
  • Contribute insights to the Foundation’s thought leadership on youth employment in Africa. 



  • Master’s degree or equivalent experience in Finance, Business, Development Economics and/or Financial Inclusion. 
  • Ten (10) plus years of experience in financing and non-financial support to MSMEs or new enterprises is highly preferred. This should include commercial experience and project management in enterprise business development, investing in and/or financing MSMEs in developing countries. 
  • Minimum of five (5) years leadership and management experience including managing staff and coaching, mentoring and providing feedback. 
  • Strong understanding of MSME segments (from early stage startups to growth-stage SMEs) in Africa and the systemic challenges constraining their growth. Understanding of the role MSMEs can play in economic transformation and job creation. 
  • Experience with MFIs, banks or investment companies operational in Africa to finance SMEs. 
  • Experience living and working in Africa; knowledge of African social, economic and political contexts would be an asset. 
  • Possesses a strong understanding of the role of financial inclusion in economic growth and development in Africa. Understands systemic challenges to financial inclusion and best practices for addressing them. 
  • Strong budgeting skills with the ability to manage a large portfolio of assets. 
  • Strong ability to communicate progress and learnings from projects to colleagues and the wider development community. 
  • Astute ability to provide expert technical advice to program managers and implementers. 
  • Experience with global grant making, especially in designing market systems development programs. This experience may come from working in another funding organization, corporation or an NGO. 
  • Command of quantitative and qualitative business analytics. 
  • Excellent project management skills, including multi-stakeholder projects. 
  • Excellent presentation and listening skills. 
  • Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to be flexible and adaptable. 
  • Proactive, engaged and a self-starter. 
  • Excellent prioritization and time management skills. 
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team. 
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English. 
  • Is willing to travel up to 40% of the time. 

The Mastercard Foundation values the unique skills and experiences each individual brings to the organization and we are committed to creating and maintaining an inclusive and accessible environment for everyone.

Completion of satisfactory business references and/or proof of education, as well as background checks (criminal, credit and social media) are essential conditions of employment.

If you require accommodation during the recruitment and selection process, please contact the People and Culture Department at humanresources@mastercardfdn.org. We will work with you to provide a positive recruitment experience in a confidential manner.

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